PREVIEW: Orient v Hartlepool - Keep the faith insists Orient boss Slade

O’s chief wants his players to keep believing

ORIENT go into Saturday’s home game against Hartlepool just one place off the foot of the table, but boss Russell Slade remains upbeat.

The O’s chief saw his side turn in an excellent display at Sheffield Wednesday without any reward last weekend and will be urging his players to keep the faith.

Slade’s message to the players before the game will be loud and clear: “We have to keep believing, because no side in the country can keep playing how we are at times and not get results,” he said.

Slade was distraught after last weekend’s defeat at Hillsborough and could not believe his side emerged empty-handed.

But the O’s boss is confident the players can start to haul themselves up the table: “The most important thing is that I believe in them and they have got to keep believing in themselves,” he said.

“Against Sheffield Wednesday they were terrific. I thought it was a remarkable display to be honest.

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“Our energy and creativity was really good, we just didn’t put the ball in the back of the net.

“We created five fantastic chances in the first half.

“I look at all the performances individually and collectively and honestly, I don’t think there was a bad performance out there last Saturday.

“All 11 gave everything and there were so many positives, it just made the result so frustrating.”

Slade is likely to revert to a 4-4-2 formation for Saturday’s clash against Hartlepool and Paul-Jose Mpoku is set to return to the squad.

The on-loan Tottenham man made his O’s debut against Brentford in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy a week ago, but was ruled out of Saturday’s trip to Hillsborough, as he was on international duty.

Mpoku was on the bench for the Belgium under-19 team’s 4-1 win against Cyprus last Friday, but then captained the team to a 2-0 win over Albania on Sunday and scored in the 2-1 win against England on Wednesday.

Given the amount of football he has played in the past week, it’s unlikely Slade will throw him into the starting 11 against Hartlepool.